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John Passant

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July 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

According to Tony Abbott, our Prime Minister, Australia was unsettled, or um, close to unsettled before British ‘foreign investment’ arrived here in 1788 in the form of guns, disease and dispossession. It is of course and, par for the course, a lie.

It shows the PM has terra nullius still in his mind, and why not given he rules for the mining magnates (among other capitalists) who want more Aboriginal land? The Northern Territory intervention is one way of doing that.

Just to set the record straight, here is a map of the 700 languages spoken in Australia before the invasion in 1788.

There were over 700 different Aboriginal languages prior to 1788. (Now there are less than 250 in use.)


Refoulement is much on my mind right now.  It is a word which means returning people such as refugees and asylum seekers to the people whom they have a reasonable fear they will be persecuted by. The UN Convention on Refugees supposedly bans nations from doing this.

It appears to be what Australia has just done. I say ‘appears’ because the government’s cone of secrecy means they will not talk about criminal operational sovereign borders’ matters.  Reports indicate however that the Australian government has transferred or will transfer up to 200 hundred Tamil asylum seekers into the Sri Lankan Government’s hands.  According to the ABC, the Tamil Refugee Council claims at least 11 of those to possibly be transferred back to the Sri Lankan government have previously been tortured by that government.

The government is using the former Labor government’s Orwellian ‘enhanced processing’ to ask 3 questions of asylum seekers. If no refuge alarm bells ring, they can be shipped off to ‘at peace’ Sri Lanka, as Tony Abbott describes it.

It isn’t. As the Australian Tamil Congress makes clear in a press release I republished here, Sri Lanka is not at peace. The Council says:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s claim today that Sri Lanka is ‘a society at peace’ is not just baseless but a deliberate lie, cynically presented to the Australian public for one reason: to support his indefensible, illegal policy of sending back Tamil asylum seekers to Sri Lanka.

But don’t just take their word for it. The UN is investigating claims of war crimes in Sri Lanka. Australia voted against it. Abbott’s new best mate, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, refused to attend last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. Here is a report from Terry Milewski in CBC News on part of what he said:

Harper declares flatly that “the absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable.”

He cites “intimidation and incarceration of political leaders and journalists, harassment of minorities, reported disappearances, and allegations of extra-judicial killings.” He also notes the impeachment and ouster of Sri Lanka’s former chief justice Bandaranayake earlier this year.

It is no accident that this possible or potential handing over of victims of Sri Lankan torture to their Sri Lankan torturers is occurring right now. The Budget has alienated many sectors of Australian society. About the only thing the government has going for it, so it believes, is ‘stopping the boats’.

This criminal ‘send ’em back’ approach to asylum seekers will divert attention the Government hopes away from the attacks the Government is launching on the poor, the unemployed, the disabled, pensioners, Uni students, the sick, low paid workers ….

So it is no accident that the government that attacks asylum seekers attacks its own people. The two are linked. By binding us ‘together’ against the ‘enemy’, an enemy which does not exist, the government hopes to bind us all together in accepting Budget cuts on us to benefit of the rich and powerful.

The government is merely spreading the concept of enemy to those within society – the ‘leaners’, unions, union officials, the unemployed, the disabled – in essence all those who receives some pittance of a government payment or whose wages ‘threaten’ the right of the big banks and other bosses to make mega-bucks at our expense.

Labor began this bipartisan descent into hell in 1992 when Paul Keating and ‘left-wing’ Immigration Minister Gerry Hand began locking up asylum seekers. It should come as no surprise that the Party that gave us locking up asylum seekers has so far refused to condemn refoulement.

Australia’s banks are the most profitable in the world, according to the Bank for International Settlements.

The fraud of investors at the Commonwealth Bank, possibly emulated under competitive conditions by other Australian banks, is a small contributor to that. So too is the ‘competitive’ market which sees lending margins higher here than elsewhere, a government guarantee which lessens borrowing costs and a regulatory regime that is more self than independent.

This government is watering down parts of that regime, the financial advice side, at the same time as they are rejecting a Senate recommendation for a Royal Commission into the investment fraud the Commonwealth Bank undertook against its customers all in the name of even bigger profits for the bank and big bonuses for the fraudsters.

Clearly this government is not just a government for mining magnates. It is a government for the finance industry too.

If you are angry about any aspect of government policy, whether it be asylum seekers or the Budget or the banks or anything else, I would urge you to attend rallies across Australia on Sunday 6 July to Bust the Budget. Details of the time and pace in various cities on Sunday 6 July are here, taken from Green Left Weekly:

11:30am, Victoria Square

11am, Queens Park

12noon, Parliament Lawns

1pm, Victoria Gardens

1pm Civic Park

1pm, Town Hall

1pm, Stirling Gardens

11am, Woodland Grove Park


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